ELITE 2019 Strategist Marla Kessler of IQVIA

Marla Kessler

Senior Vice President, Strategy, Marketing, and Communications


Champion of a New Healthcare Vision

Marla Kessler has proven over the course of her career that she can energize an entire team—even an entire company—to share her vision, be it a single initiative or transforming global healthcare.

Marla’s training as a strategist began at McKinsey & Co., where she led the management consultant’s efforts to better understand the rapidly changing landscape of clinical trials, reimbursement, and digital health. Next, at Pfizer, Marla was a “systems thinker” focused on improving the future. She led industry reform efforts, bringing together healthcare stakeholders to propose collaborative solutions and address negative perceptions about the industry.

Marla went on to lead the European Consulting business at IMS Health holding several leadership roles simultaneously, including Global Head of Customer Marketing, Thought Leadership, and Knowledge Management, integrating strategy and execution of new initiatives. Following the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, Marla became responsible for rebranding two merged companies into IQVIA, an entirely new company.

With each company having over 50 years of brand equity, most focused on the expanded portfolio of offerings. Marla envisioned so much more: A new kind of organization—one uniquely designed to help transform healthcare into an industry informed by data science, technology, and unprecedented expertise to significantly improve outcomes for customers and improve human health.

Marla began mobilizing IQVIA and the industry to understand that to solve healthcare’s biggest problems a new discipline must emerge that joins all the advances of big data and data science with the necessary expertise of healthcare. Coining the term “human data science,” Marla ignited new conversations about the company and created a wholly new category set to transform how healthcare works.

Evidence of her success is clear. After only its first year, IQVIA was recognized as its own brand by about two of every three potential customers—driving three times more Google searches than the pre-merger legacy companies. Client research shows IQVIA is seen as the company driving innovations that are transforming healthcare. That includes the championing of human data science by engaging global industry leaders in roundtable discussions that will increase the application of human data science to improve human health.


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